Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
September 4, 2018
The founder of the Haqqani Network, one of Afghanistan’s most dangerous and feared militant groups, has died after a long illness, the network’s ally, the Afghan Taliban, announced early on September 4.
Jalaluddin Haqqani, whose son Sirajuddin Haqqani now heads the brutal group and is also the Taliban’s deputy leader, died “after a long battle with illness,” the Taliban said in a statement in English on Twitter.
Jalaluddin “was from among the great distinguished Jihadi personalities of this era,” the Taliban said.
He was an Afghan militia commander fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s with the help of the United States and Pakistan.
Jalaluddin also fostered close ties with Arab extremists, including the now-deceased Al-Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden, who set up militant camps in Afghanistan before being run out of the country into hiding in Pakistan after a U.S.-led invasion in 2002.
Jalaluddin was also once a minister in the Taliban’s government, which ruled Afghanistan before the U.S. invasion.
Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters
Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.